Sunderland Safeguarding Children Partnership

What is Safeguarding?

Safeguarding is the action that is taken to promote the welfare of children and protect them from harm.

Safeguarding means:
- protecting children from abuse and maltreatment
- preventing harm to children’s health or development
- ensuring children grow up with the provision of safe and effective care
- taking action to enable all children and young people to have the best outcomes.

Child protection is part of the safeguarding process. It focuses on protecting individual children identified as suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. This includes child protection procedures which detail how to respond to concerns about a child.

The local authority (Children’s Social Care) must take all reports seriously.

The following summarises the procedures that will be followed

Stage 1 – Child in Need Assessment

If a referral is made, it will usually be dealt with within 24 hours, having collected some key information about the concern or allegation - if it appears that the concern or allegation is founded - a Social Worker in Children's Services will be asked to start an assessment, which could take up to 45 days. If there are serious risks to a Child, it may be necessary to take immediate action to protect the child(ren) concerned, in the extreme, this can result in children being temporarily cared for by a Foster Carer. If this happens to you and your brothers and sisters, we will try to make sure you are cared for by the same foster carers.

All Referrals will be considered by a Social Worker in Children's Services, and an assessment may be conducted.

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Stage 2 – Strategy Discussion

If it looks like abuse has happened or might happen, the social workers and others, like teachers or the Police, will hold a meeting called a Strategy Discussion to decide whether a Child Protection Enquiry is necessary (see the next stage).

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Stage 3 – Child Protection Enquiry

If a Child Protection Enquiry is started, this will involve a Social Worker and sometimes the Police assessing the concerns or allegations, the Child(ren) and Parents will be involved in this process.

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Stage 4 - Initial Child Protection Conference

At the end of the Child Protection Enquiry, an Initial Child Protection Conference may be conducted, chaired by an Independent Manager. You might be invited to this meeting.

You have rights too...

If you are unhappy about any aspect of the meeting, you should talk to the chair of the meeting to discuss your views. If you feel you haven't been properly informed or involved, seek advice from a Solicitor, Citizens Advice Bureau or you can make a complaint. 


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